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Middle School Lesson Plans: Grades 6-8

These middle school lessons (6-8) are intended to be an introduction to the anatomy of a trout and the anatomy of a watershed. Students will learn how external factors can affect fish and watersheds. Students will learn how to collect and analyze data. Students will be placed in the role of scientists as they investigate and observe natural phenomena. Students will acquire and apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Activity One: Fish Anatomy

  • Students will read the book Come Back, Salmon by Molly Cone.
  • Students will discuss the external anatomy of a fish.
  • Students will draw a diagram of a fish and label the fins.
  • Students will tell how each fin enables a trout to move.

Activity Two: Create a Fish

  • Students will study the anatomy of a fish.
  • Students will look at all parts of a trout.
  • Students will construct clay fishin scale.

Activity Three: It's a Fish!

  • Students will be introduced to the life cycle of the bull or cutthroat trout to students.
  • Students will create a hatching tank for trout eggs.
  • Students will learn how to test the water temperature.
  • Students will monitor any changes occurring in the tank.
  • Students will construct a temperature graph.
  • Students will learn how to clean tank filters.
  • Students will study the food sources of trout.
  • Students will feed the fry.
  • Students will learn how to measure the oxygen level in water.
  • Students will graph oxygen levels.

Activity Four: Fish Life Cycle

  • Students watching the developing trout in the tank will more clearly understand the phases in the trout life cycle.
  • Students will illustrate the life cycle of the bull or cutthroat trout.
  • Students will need to explain the basic needs that each cycle has in order to survive.
  • Students will create a multimedia presentation such as PowerPoint or HyperStudio showing the trout life cycle.
  • Students will present their multimedia program to an audience of peers or adults.

Activity Five: Blackfoot Watershed

  • Students will compare Pigeon Creek from Come Back, Salmon to the Blackfoot River.
  • Students will discuss the similarities and differences of these waterways.
  • Students will discuss the similarities and differences between salmon and trout.
  • Students will discuss the plants and animals that are found in each watershed.
  • Students will release their trout into the Blackfoot River.
  • The class will Adopt-A-Fish.

Activity Six: Adopt-A-Trout

  • Students will adopt one of the radio transmitter trout from the Blackfoot River.
  • Students will use the Internet to follow the progress their trout makes up the Blackfoot River.
  • Students will follow the progress their trout by marking it on a classroom map.
  • Students will create a graph that shows the miles their trout travels each day.
  • Students will speculate about what causes the different progress on different days, after monitoring the progress of their trout.

Extension Activities

  • How Many Fish are in that Pond?—This lesson from the Clear Lake Education Center has students estimating fish in a pond.
  • Small Streams—This AK Fish & Game page tells what is needed to maintain a healthy stream.
  • Life in a Mini-World—This site offers an activity on the observation of pond water.
  • Lake Trout—This contains a print-out of a lake trout.
  • Go With the Flow—This activity helps students understand how erosion of a river bed is affected by the speed of the river.
  • Westslope Cutthroat—This page shows the coloring of spawning and non-spawning cutthroat trout.
  • Bull Trout—This page shows the coloring of spawning and non-spawning bull trout.
  • Blackfoot River Hatch Chart—This is a fly fisherman's guide to when to use certain flies.
  • Adopt-A-Watershed—These are curriculum units for each grade level.
  • Fish Glossary—These are body parts and other fish terms.


  • Communicates the differences in the reproductive processes of a variety of plants and animals using the principles of genetic modeling (e.g., Punet squares). (Science, Activity 3)
  • Investigate and explain the interdependent nature of biological systems in the environment and how they are affected by human interaction. (Science, Activities 1 & 5)
  • Use a basic classification scheme to identify local plants and animals. (Science, Activity 5)
  • Apply scientific knowledge and process skills to understand issues and everyday events. (Science, Activity 5)
  • Estimate, make, and use measurements to describe, compare, and/or contrast objects in real-world situations. (Mathematics, Activity 3)
  • Select and use appropriate units and tools to measure to a level of accuracy required in a particular setting. (Mathematics, Activity 2
  • Construct, read, and interpret tables, charts, and graphs. (Mathematics, Activity 3)
  • Compare and contrast important print/nonprint information with existing knowledge to draw conclusions and make application. (Reading, Activity 5)
  • Provide accurate, detailed summaries using key elements of appropriate reading material. (Reading, Activity 4)
  • Read to organize and understand information and to use material to investigate a topic (e.g., reference material, manuals, public documents, newspapers, magazines and electronic information. (Reading, Activity 1)
  • Identify, locate, read, and interpret information from a variety of documents and sources (e.g., graphs, tables, policy statements, televisions, Internet. (Reading, Activity 6)
  • Plan writing by generating and organizing ideas through a variety of strategies and by considering purpose and audience. (Writing)
  • Identify several explanations or solutions, and draw conclusions based on their analysis of the information. (Writing, Activity 6)
  • Share information in appropriate ways for intended audiences. (Writing, Activities 1 & 4)
  • Select a course of action using two-dimensional processes e.g., painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, computer arts) and the three-dimensional processes (e.g., sculpture, indigenous/traditional arts). (Art, Activity 2)
  • Utilize interrelated elements among the Arts and other subject areas. (Art, Activities 1 & 2)
  • Use and refine skills and procedures needed to operate various technologies. (Technology, Activity 4)
  • Apply technology in designing, developing and presenting a project. (Technology, Activity 4)

Materials and Preparation

  • Come Back, Salmon by Molly Cone
  • Clay
  • Fish Tank
  • Water Filters
  • Cooling Unit
  • Water Testing Equipment
  • Trout eggs